Welcome to “Sleepers Who Have Been Slept On.” This will be the first in a weekly six-part series highlighting players that have been overlooked because they play on bad teams. Some of the players highlighted will be players who can contribute in your starting lineups while others will be great pick ups if you have an injury. We’ll start with a few guys from 2012′s worst team, the Houston Astros.
Carlos Pena – 1B
A player with an OPS of .1038 would be greeted with a Cheshire cat grin from any fantasy league team. But the 2007 version of Carlos Pena is not walking through Minute Maid Parks doors.
Still, if you are looking to add power at a very cheap price Carlos Pena should be on your radar. He had a down year with Tampa Bay last season managing a .197 batting average to go along with a career high 182 strikeouts. These are two of the reasons Tampa Bay let him walk at the end of the season.
One team’s trash is another teams treasure. The Astros moving to the American League West were in need of a cheap middle of the order hitter.
Pena is a career .234 hitter but his average has been below that since the 2009 season. I expect a rebound in hitter friendly Minute Maid Park with a very young lineup hitting around him. He will likely rebound to hit around 25 homers with an average close to .230 if things go well. He should knock in around 70 to 80 runs hitting in the middle of the Astros lineup.
He is a good injury replacement at first base for a few weeks and he could give you value in an AL only lineup looking for cheap power numbers.
Brad Peacock – P
Brad Peacock was one of baseballs pitching jewels after the 2011 minor league season. He went 15-3 with an ERA under 3.00 and big things were expected out of him for the 2012 season. He was traded in the Gio Gonzalez deal bringing him to Oakland from the Washington Nationals. A change of scenery was not a good thing for Brad. The wheels fell off the wagon with him posting an ERA over 6.00 last season in the Pacific Coast League. He was traded to Houston in the Jed Lowrie deal last offseason.
He won the Astros fourth starter position out of spring training. Astros skipper Bo Porter said “he looks like the pitcher we saw in 2011.” If he limits the homers and gets decent run support he could be a great bargain in your rotation this season.
You will get a K/9 average of more than a strikeout an inning and an ERA under 4.00. At this point no one knows what kind of run support he will get but he will keep games close with his velocity and command. He has a tremendous amount of upside.
There aren’t many fourth starters that he will be competing against that can equal his talent. He is a fly ball pitcher and that is the biggest concern with him playing his home games in one of the more hitter friendly parks in baseball. He compares to someone like a Marco Estrada but with more upside.